Chapter 136 – Qin Shiyu
Original and most updated translations are from volare. Please don’t read elsewhere and stop supporting theft.
When Jing Rong mentioned Wei Yi’s love for meat, Ji Yunshu faintly smiled. Jing Rong did not know when it started, but he began treating Wei Yi a bit better. Wrong, this was his well-planned strategy to gain someone’s favor.
Concerning the Lin capital case, Ji Yunshu held some suspicions. She returned the tassel to her sleeve before looking up at Jing Rong and asking, “To investigate the Lin capital case, I need to unseal the coffins of the 72 bodies. All of them need to have a portrait made so that we can find out who the missing person in this tragedy is…” She had yet to finish speaking when Jing Rong interrupted her.
“You mean that since this is a major case because the Imperial Duke is considered the older generation of the imperial family, the request to unseal the coffins to paint the portraits of the deceased is bound to implicate a wide range of people. Therefore, you’re worried that this matter won’t go too smoothly.”
Her mind was well-grasped by Jing Rong. She nodded. Her dried lips curved down before she said, “If we talk about unsealing one coffin, a compromise could be reached, but we’re talking about unsealing 72 coffins. Does your Highness have the assurance for this? Will the Emperor agree to such a request?”
“This Prince cannot guarantee that the request will be agreed to.” He replied sharply. He frowned. “Moreover, we can’t unseal all 72 of them. At most, we will have the authorization to unseal 67 coffins.”
“Well, five of the corpses are the Imperial Duke and his family and they are already buried inside the imperial tomb. It’s impossible to get access to their coffins. Therefore, the missing person could only be a servant within the Duke residence. You only need to request for Imperial Father to agree to the unsealing of 67 coffins.”
“Ah! So it was like this.”
“When the investigation of the case began, no one would think that there would be a need to unseal the coffins one day. After all, there was no precedent for this. I never knew that this world would have someone capable of drawing a portrait just based on the bone structure of the skeleton.”
Was he praising her? Either way, he was throwing a big problem at her. If the emperor does not agree to her request, even if she had great drawing skills, the paper would remain blank without the corpses. “Then, what’s our next step? The issue of unsealing the coffins, bad or good, is absolutely not a trifling matter.”
Jing Rong’s brows remained wrinkled. “There’s nothing more to say for today. Tomorrow, I’ll go meet Lord Qin and discuss the issue with him. We will decide on what to do after. In short, we must unseal them.”
His words were resolute!
He had spent great efforts on this case. He had brought Ji Yunshu to the capital. Not to mention digging a meter to excavate a coffin, even doing so for 67 coffins would not stop him.
The next day.
Jing Rong went to the Qin mansion. Qin Shiyu is a man in his fifties. In his younger days, he was a great general, but nowadays he took office as the army’s secretary. From a military officer, he became a civil servant. Due to his close friendship with the Imperial Duke, after the slaughter of the whole family, he persisted in investigating the case for the past 14 years. It was only around half a year ago that he discovered three suspicious points which allowed him to appeal to reverse the verdict.
The three points were:
- On the day the Imperial Duke’s mansion was burnt to the ground, the Duke’s army received an order to transfer the soldiers to the army secretary. Logic aside, for the lord to transfer his private army to an army secretary, there would only be two reasons: an exceptional situation occurred within the capital or it was the emperor’s decree. However, none of those reasons applied to the situation which indicated that the Imperial Duke’s order was strange.
- The general, who had the Duke’s command plate and used it to transfer the troops, suddenly died not long after the event. This timely coincidence was incredibly fishy.
- There were 73 people within the Imperial Duke mansion, but one corpse was missing. According to the coroner and, based on the list of servants working for the Duke, the comparison showed a disparity with the number of corpses. A servant might have escaped the tragedy. If they could find that person, they would probably be able to crack this case!
Due to all kinds of reasons, and after great effort and perseverance, Qin Shiyu was finally able to appeal to the emperor who agreed to reopen the case.
At this moment, Jing Rong stood in front of the entrance of the Qin mansion and Qin Shiyu welcomed him inside. “Prince Rong, there’s no need for you to come here yourself. You could send someone to notify me and this humble one will meet you at your residence.”
“It isn’t a bother. Furthermore, it isn’t convenient for you to move around.”
During a campaign, Qin Shiyu injured his leg which hindered his mobility. In addition, he had kneeled for three days and three nights at the Nanzhe gate which aggravated his injury. After that, he could no longer tolerate standing for long because of the pain.
Both men sat cross-legged opposite to each other while a servant poured tea for them.
“Prince Rong, in your letter, you mentioned that you brought back a person. Can this person really solve this case?” asked Qin Shiyu.
Jing Rong sighed before picking up the cup of tea and taking a sip. Seeing him like that, Qin Shiyu pondered yet could not understand his behavior. Thus, he probed Jing Rong, “Prince Rong, your mind seems burdened. Could it be there’s an unforeseen problem with this case?”
“I won’t hide from you that during this half a year I have traveled to many places investigating the servants of the Imperial Duke, based on the list compiled by the Ministry of Revenue, in order to find the missing person. Unfortunately, this is like trying to find a needle in a haystack and the result was fruitless.”
“What is your Highness’ meaning?”
“That day when the fire burnt the Duke’s mansion for a day and a night, resulting in 72 unidentified burnt corpses which were only identified through the ornaments found on them. Otherwise, we would not be able to determine the five corpses belonging to the Duke and his family. Their burials in the imperial tomb were an expected matter. Thus, it left us with 67 bodies which were all buried on Lin mountain. If we want to know who the missing servant is, there’s only one way – unsealing their coffins.”
“Open their coffins?”
“This Prince has brought back an extraordinary person who could draw the portrait of the dead, regardless if it was a rotten corpse or a skeleton. That person can draw a lifelike portrait of the deceased when they were alive. However, to do that, we need to open their coffins, so that person can draw all 67 portraits. Only then, we might find out who the missing person is.”
Each word Jing Rong spoke was resounding clearly and powerfully.
But when Lord Qin heard about “opening the coffins”, his expression became stiff. He was slightly stunned.
His body bent forward and his voice shook as he spoke, “Your Highness should know that this is a major issue. If the emperor disapproved, it would be impossible to investigate further.”
‘That’s true. How could this request be possible?’ In order to force Qi Zhen emperor to reopen the case, he had already provoked his father’s dissatisfaction. Now, he wanted to request opening the coffins and drawing the corpses’ portrait? Wouldn’t this be spread to everyone’s ears? This would simply be a slap on his father’s face. In fact, one slap wasn’t enough. This would be like two slaps to his face! Jing Rong worded his intentions, “That’s also the reason why I came to you today to discuss.”
“This…” Qin Shiyu was truly baffled by Jing Rong.
Should he go kneel three days and three nights at Nanzhe gate again? Jing Rong killed Qin Shiyu’s idea. Letting it die the moment it was birthed! “Using public opinion to compel someone has always been my imperial father’s taboo. For the Imperial Duke case, you already helped reopen the case. As for requesting to unseal the coffins, you don’t need to step in,” said Jing Rong.
“Then does Prince Rong have any certainty?”
Jing Rong shook his head. “For now, let’s wait until after Concubine Xiao’s birthday to make a plan.”
Once Qin Shiyu heard about Concubine Xiao’s birthday, he immediately asked, “What could the emperor be thinking? Does he want to meet with the talented individual you brought back?” Qin Shiyu was truly an intelligent man.
Jing Rong cracked his knuckles, but his expression was unfathomable. Slowly, he spoke, “This matter is related to the imperial family. It is quite normal for my imperial father to want to meet that person.”
Qin Shiyu stroked his beard. His expression revealed deep curiosity. “Truth be told, this humble one is also curious. In this world, is there really such an extraordinary person who could draw a portrait of someone from their bones?”
If he were to know that Ji Yunshu was a forensic anthropologist from 5,000 years in the future, would he be scared to death?
Grenn’s Rants Corner
It’s a very plot-driven chapter.
Meanwhile, Wei Yi is still sleeping while dreaming of flying meatballs. 😛